Courtesy: Elaine Hall, Equine Thermographer
What is Thermography?
It works on the principle that the higher a temperature of an object, the greater the amount of infrared radiation (which we perceive as heat) is emitted. Infrared or thermal energy, is invisible to the human eye, and so a thermal camera is used, which registers infrared radiation (ie heat).
The colours used in a thermal image, are a "palette", which have specific colours that vary according to the temperature. Usually, the coldest colour areas are in blue, and the hottest areas are in white, with reds/yellows being "middle temperatures".
How Can Thermography Help My Animal?
It can be used for a variety of reasons, although one of the main reasons is to identify pain. This could be pain from:
- Poorly fitting tack (e.g. saddle or bridle, etc)
- Ligament or tendon injuries
- Joint problems
Benefits of Using Veterinary Thermography?
Thermal camera's are usually small, and so portable - usually the technique can take place at the horse's yard. Also, it doesn't cause any harm to the animal (or handler), and the animal can also be fully awake.
When Should it NOT be used?
If the horse is wet, (e.g. from rain or very sweaty), then the moisture on the coat may affect the images. Also, it's best not to try and use thermography in windy or near heat sources, as again it can affect the quality of the images and therefore the effectiveness of the technique.
Can Thermography Be Used with Other Animals?
Yes, thermography is becoming more widely used in many areas of veterinary science - including with dogs and cats as well as horses, amongst other species! .
Where Can You Find a Veterinary Thermographer?
Many veterinary surgeons now use thermography within their practice. Additionally, some qualified therapists who work with animals are trained in using thermography.
Is there research evidencing effectiveness of Thermography?
Yes there is an increasing amount of research into the use of thermography in veterinary practice, find a selection at our Holistic Animal Care Research page
Have you considered training as a veterinary thermographer? - Check out our training advice page here.
Would you like information on Veterinary Thermographers for your horse or dog? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we'll be pleased to try and assist!